July 22, 2013
Hurtado commits to enforce Illinois Human Rights Act | Click here for letter .pdf
On July 15th, the Plainfield Park District was presented with the results of an audit conducted by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). This comprehensive review, which examined the policies ratified by previous boards, found that some of the park district’s current policy provisions do not fully comply with the Illinois Human Rights Act.
I, my fellow board members, and the park district executive director, welcome this evaluation of our organization and are prepared to fully comply with the included advisements.
A few specific recommendations were set forth by the IDHR. First, that we revise our sexual harassment policy to include a number of missing elements and submit this new copy for review. Second, that the district develop and implement an affirmative action plan to ensure minorities are not being underutilized within the park district. Lastly, we must establish a set of written policies governing employee performance evaluations and make them available through our employee handbook.
I believe these findings highlight the importance of having new leadership on the park district board. For many years, critical examination of our district’s policies was unnecessarily avoided. I have charged the current board with guaranteeing that these issues are immediately confronted and rectified.
Given the recent concerns pertaining to the board’s compliance with the Open Meetings Act, further scrutiny by state agencies such as this is not entirely unexpected. This evaluation affords us the opportunity to cooperate and implement practical improvements that will make the park district a better place to work and thus a better steward of the public trust. I know that this board can set aside its political differences and come together to address the issues before us.
President, Plainfield Park District
June 13, 2013
Plainfield Park District posts FY2013-14 Proposed Budget Draft on web site | Click here for draft .pdf
June 3, 2013
Plainfield Park District posts Executive Director Garrett Peck's employment contract on web site | Click here for contract .pdf
Plainfield Park District posts employee compensation information on web site
May 24, 2013
In accordance with Public Act 097-0609, the Plainfield Park District has posted the total compensation package for all of its full-time employees on its web site.
"I am excited to announce that the new administration at our Park District has gone above and beyond the legal requirement of publishing public salaries in excess of $75,000 and posted the salaries and benefits of every full-time employee," said Plainfield Township Park District Board President Peter Hurtado.
Effective January 1, 2012, Public Act 097-0609 amended the Open Meetings Act to require employers participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to post on their web sites the total compensation package for each employee having a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year within six business days after approving a budget. It also requires IMRF employers to post on their web sites the total compensation package for each employee having a total compensation package that is equal to or in excess of $150,000 per year at least six days before it is approved. An employee’s total compensation package can include salary; health insurance; housing, vehicle or clothing allowances; bonuses; loans; and/or vacation and sick days granted.
For more information, contact Interim Executive Director Garrett Peck at (815) 436-8812.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2013
For more information, call the Plainfield Park District at (815) 436-8812.
The selection of Garrett Peck to serve as Interim Director of the Plainfield Park District is the result of careful deliberation and thorough discussion among the members of the board.
Our aim in choosing an Interim Director was to select an individual from outside the organization who could lend a systematic approach to the oversight of the district’s finances and ensure that residents receive the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost.
Mr. Peck’s background in business and his direct experience working with and within government are professional assets which have prepared him well to tackle the tasks that lay before us.
As the newly elected Board President, I consider it my first priority to put our park district on a path of fiscal responsibility, and fully represent the interests of taxpayers. I am confident that the board, working in close cooperation with Mr. Peck, can bring about policies that prevent any further increases in levies and fees while maintaining the high standards of services the patrons of our facilities have come to expect.
PLAINFIELD PARK DISTRICT SEATS NEW COMMISSIONERS - HURTADO ELECTED NEW BOARD PRESIDENT
May 8, 2013
For more information, call the Plainfield Park District at (815) 436-8812.
At their regular monthly meeting tonight, the Plainfield Park District Board said good bye to retiring Commissioners John Wilson and Michael Brann and seated newly-elected Commissioners Janet Silosky and Peter Steinys, who were voted in on April 9th of this year. The five current Board members then elected new officers for the coming term, electing Peter Hurtado to the position of Board President and Janet Silosky as Vice-President.
Hurtado said he was gratified and humbled by his election to lead the Board for the next two years, saying he and his colleagues would work hard on behalf of the District’s residents and taxpayers. “As a unit of government, our primary mission is to provide the best possible services for our residents at the least possible expense to the taxpayer,” Hurtado said, “and that is just what we plan to do. The Plainfield Park District includes many parks and other amenities that have been purchased and developed for recreational purposes and to help preserve our environment. Both are equally important, and we will all work closely to increase programs and services for our people while maintaining and protecting our open space.”
Silosky and Steinys both said they were eager to get to work with their fellow Board members, incumbents Hurtado, Larry Newton and Mary Kay Ludemann, and said they looked forward to their six year terms in office.
The Board also appointed Garrett Peck to serve as the District Secretary, Sandi Walton was appointed Recording Secretary and Douglas A. Booth named District Treasurer.
Plainfield Park District receives recognition for excellence in financial reporting
for 7th year in a row
April 9, 2013
The Plainfield Park District has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the seventh year in a row. The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
“This recognition, especially for the seventh consecutive year, reinforces the Park District’s overall level of fiscal responsibility and a continued trend of sound and positive financial performance, especially when you consider today’s economic climate,” said Executive Director Greg Bott.
The Park District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the GFOA program. This included demonstrating a “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.
The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals.
St. Mary Immaculate Volunteer Day
Dec. 6, 2012
Thank you to St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Plainfield for volunteering to assist with some park district improvement projects on Oct. 27. Three groups of volunteers painted the picnic shelter/concession stand at Van Horn Woods (8 people, 2 hours); mulched the Streams Recreation Center and did some general outdoor clean-up (10 people, 2 hours); and mulched and raked leaves at Village Green Park and did some general outdoor clean-up (23 people over 4 hours).
Plainfield Park District hosts ceremonial groundbreaking for Joey Kledzik Memorial Field
Oct. 4, 2012
The Plainfield Park District hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Joey Kledzik Memorial Field at Renwick Community Park on Sept. 15.
The project is being funded by the Joey Kledzik Memorial Fund ($40,600), a grant awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Plainfield Park District. The field, designed for 12-18-year-old players, should be ready for play in Spring 2014.
Joey Kledzik was born April 2, 1985 with a congenital heart defect known as Transposition of the Great Vessels. Joey eventually underwent two open-heart surgeries and survived numerous complications, but by age 2, he appeared to be as normal as any other child. Through his toddler and preschool years, Joey developed natural athletic abilities. By age 9, he was a baseball all-star, and at age 11, he was chosen to play part-time travel ball.
However, Joey died suddenly on May 30, 1997 while playing kickball in gym class at school. The Kledzik family organized the first Joey Kledzik Memorial Tournament in 1998 as a way of coping with his death. The baseball tournament started with four individual tourneys for ages 10-13 with 37 teams competing. It has grown to seven individual tourneys for ages 9-15 with a total 80 teams competing. The Kledzik Memorial Tournament has donated more than $40,000 toward the development of the new field in Joey’s memory.
“We, the Kledzik family, have been sincerely blessed with the opportunity to organize and run a wonderful tournament in Joey's memory for the past 15 years,” said Barb Kledzik, Joey’s mother. “That being said, we are overjoyed with the opportunity to give back to our community and youth baseball by donating the proceeds for the construction of another baseball field. We’d like to thank so very much all those that have made this event such a huge success – family, the Plainfield Park District, and the Plainfield Athletic Club.”
“We are thankful to the Kledzik family for their generosity, and fortunate to have received grant funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for this project,” said Greg Bott, Plainfield Park District Executive Director. “The addition of a field of this size will fulfill a need within our community.”
Ceremonial Ribbon-Cutting & Public Open House at New Heritage Center Location
February 7, 2012
The Plainfield Park District hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and public open house at its new Heritage Center location in Downtown Plainfield on Feb. 4. The Heritage Professional Center is located at 24023 W. Lockport St. In addition to housing its Great Adventures Program for Preschoolers, the new facility will allow the Park District to offer a wider range of programs for people of all ages in the evenings, on the weekends and year-round, including birthday party packages and private rentals. Pictured from left to right are Mary Kay Ludemann, vice president of the Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners; John Wilson, Plainfield Park District Commissioner; Carl Bryant, owner of the Heritage Professional Center and president of Contract Development Corp; Mike Brann, president of the Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners; and Peter Hurtado, Plainfield Park District Commissioner.
Plainfield Park District hosted ribbon-cutting for new section of DuPage River Trail
October 13, 2011
The .75-mile 10-foot wide asphalt trail runs north from Riverview Park at Naperville-Plainfield Road east of Route 59, over a newly-constructed bridge crossing the DuPage River, to a loop turnaround at the Com Ed right-of-way at 143rd St. and Route 59. Read more
Plainfield Park District to host ceremonial ribbon-cutting
October 5, 2011
The newest segment of DuPage River Trail through Plainfield is now open. Read more
Plainfield Park District to offer programs in downtown Plainfield facility this fall
July 21, 2011
The Plainfield Park District has signed a long-term lease for space in the Heritage Professional Center located at 24023 Lockport St. in downtown Plainfield. Read more
Cambridge Run HOA celebrates Arbor Day '11
June 8, 2011
For the second year in a row, the Cambridge Run Homeowners Association celebrated Arbor Day with a new tree planting in its neighborhood park. Read more
Plainfield Park District receives excellence in financial reporting for 5th year in a row
April 22, 2011
The Plainfield Park District has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the fifth year in a row. Read more
Plainfield Park District opens Clow Stephens Community Park
October 22, 2010
The Plainfield Park District hosted a grand opening celebration for Clow Stephens Community Park on Oct. 16.
Clow Stephens Community Park is located in the southeast sector of the park district, on Lily Cache Road between Caton Farm Road and Route 30. The 106.5-acre property was donated to the park district in 2004 by the late Mary Clow Stephens. It was her wish to preserve the site and its natural features while providing open space for the community and recreational opportunities for future generations.
The Plainfield Park District received a $400,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2008 to develop Clow Stephens Community Park. The initial 33-acre phase includes youth soccer fields, a dog park, prairie restoration, a site trail, fitness stations, a picnic shelter, a playground, restrooms, and parking.
Plainfield Park District celebrates grand re-opening of Village Green Park
The Plainfield Park District celebrated the grand re-opening of Village Green Park on Sept. 18. The Village Green is 2.7-acre community park located just south of historic downtown Plainfield at Fox River and Chicago Streets. Platted in 1834, it has been used for a variety of recreational purposes, including a croquet field, swimming pool, baseball diamond, and outdoor amphitheater. Except for the replacement of the playground in 1999, it had not had a major renovation in 30 years.
The Plainfield Park District received a $250,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to re-develop Village Green Park. The funds were used to relocate the basketball court to expand the play area to include a spray ground, a new amenity to the Plainfield Park District, which was operational for the event. Work also included the construction of a new half basketball court and the replacement of a concrete pad with a rain garden. In addition, the project included the renovation of the existing restrooms to meet ADA accessibility guidelines; the installation of new site furnishings including benches, trash receptacles, and drinking fountains; the replacement of fencing and surfacing at the tennis courts; lighting upgrades; and the renovation of the existing path system.
Pictured from left to right are Tom Cross, Illinois State Representative; Misty Bartlett, Plainfield Park District Recreation Supervisor; Matthew Starr, Plainfield Township Tax Collector; Kelly Banach, Plainfield Park District Recreation Supervisor; Bill Gerardy, Conservation Plainfield Member; Anita Gerardy, Plainfield Township Clerk and Conservation Plainfield Member; Maureen Nugent, Plainfield Park District Business Manager; Ian Wright; Mary Kay Ludemann, Plainfield Park District Commissioner; Michelle Kelly, Plainfield Park District Board President; James Less, Plainfield Park District Landscape Designer/Park Planner; Michael Lambert, Arris Architects and Planners, P.C.; Michelle Lambert-Gunter; Greg Bott, Plainfield Park District Executive Director; and Cameron Bettin, Plainfield Park District Planning Superintendent. The three girls pictured in the front from left to right are twins Julia and Veronica Licavoli and Iris Wright.
Plainfield Park District hosts ceremonial groundbreaking for new segment of DuPage River Trail
The Plainfield Park District hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new segment of the DuPage River Trail on June 23. The ceremony took place at Riverview Park.
The segment is expected to be completed this fall. When complete, the DuPage River Trail eventually will be a 29-mile trail running along the DuPage River from Naperville to Channahon.
The Plainfield Park District received $1,215,500 in American and Recovery Reinvestment Act funding for the development of the DuPage River Trail from Riverview Park to the Com Ed right-of-way at 143rd Street and Route 59. These monies are being utilized in conjunction with $656,000 in Illinois Enhancement Transportation Program funds from the Illinois Department of Transportation and $80,000 in federal SAFETEA-LU funds.
Pictured from left to right are John Mayer, Project Manager with Engineering Resource Associates, Inc.; Mike Brann, Vice President of the Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners; Michelle Kelly, President of the Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners; Greg Bott, Plainfield Park District Executive Director; Mary Kay Ludemann, Plainfield Park District Commissioner; Cameron Bettin, Plainfield Park District Superintendent of Planning; Brian Murphy, Plainfield Village Administrator; Michael Collins, Plainfield Mayor; Larry Kachel, Plainfield Village Trustee; and Bill Lamb, Plainfield Village Trustee.
Plainfield Park District saves taxpayers nearly $345,000 with bond sale
The Plainfield Park District recently refunded a 2000 series of general obligation bonds at a current, lower interest rate to save its taxpayers almost $345,000.
The bond sale took place on May 5, resulting in a $344,537 interest savings over a 7-year period. It will save Plainfield Park District residents approximately $49,000 a year from 2011 to 2017.
“It may not amount to a lot of savings for the individual tax payer, but it’s just one more way we are trying to be sensitive to our community during these tough economic times,” said Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott. “We saw an opportunity to save some money and we took advantage of it.”
As a point of clarification, the bond sale does not put money into the park district’s budget for it to spend. Rather, it saves residents money that would have been spent in interest.
In addition, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed the Plainfield Park District’s ‘AA’ bond rating. Last year, the Park District’s bond rating was raised three grades from ‘A’ through ‘A+’ and ‘AA-‘ to its current rating of ‘AA’. The Park District’s ‘AA’ rating means it has a very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments, a reflection of its well-managed budget and demonstrated fiscal responsibility.
Credit ratings are forward-looking opinions about credit risk. Standard & Poor’s credit ratings express their opinion about the ability and willingness of an issuer, such as the Park District, to meet its financial obligations in full and on time. Last year’s rating upgrade reflected the Park District’s continued trend of sound and positive financial performance leading to maintained reserve levels and moderate debt burden.
Cambridge Run HOA celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting in neighborhood park
The tree, an Autumn Blaze Maple, was donated by The Fields on Caton Farm Inc. in Joliet. The tree was planted by The Fields on Caton Farm Inc. on Friday, April 30 near the park's Frontier Lane entrance and playground.
A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony took place on Saturday, May 1. The neighborhood event also included kids’ activities and crafts, including making pine cone bird feeders and coloring.
Arbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Founded in the United States in 1872, the holiday is celebrated on the last Friday in April each year.
Thank you to the Cambridge Run HOA for their environmental initiative and The Fields on Caton Farm Inc. for their generous donation!
Construction begins on Village Green Redevelopment Project
Construction will begin with the demolition of the existing restroom, with construction of the new restroom facility to begin shortly thereafter. The redevelopment of the park will begin a few weeks after the restroom demolition, starting with the removal and replacement of the asphalt path surrounding the playground. The redevelopment project is scheduled to be completed by August 2010. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
The playground and picnic shelter will remain open during construction. However, the picnic shelter will not be available for rental during construction.
The Plainfield Park District received a $250,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2009 to re-develop Village Green Park.
“Obviously we were very pleased and excited to receive this grant,” said Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott. “With all of the improvements that have taken place in downtown Plainfield, the planned improvements for the Village Green will be a real compliment to the Village of Plainfield’s Streetscape Project and long-range Riverfront Master Plan.”
The funds will be used to relocate the existing basketball court to expand the play area to include a spray ground, a new amenity to the Plainfield Park District. Plans also include construction of a new half basketball court and the replacement of a concrete pad with a rain garden. In addition, the project will include the renovation of the existing restrooms to meet ADA accessibility guidelines; the installation of new site furnishings including benches, trash receptacles, and drinking fountains; the replacement of fencing and surfacing at the tennis courts; lighting upgrades; and the renovation of the existing path system.
Village Green Park is 2.7-acre community park located just south of historic downtown Plainfield at Fox River and Chicago Streets. Platted in 1834, it has been used for a variety of recreational purposes, including a croquet field, swimming pool, baseball diamond, and outdoor amphitheater. The Village Green currently contains a playground, ½ basketball court, tennis courts, and a group picnic pavilion. Except for the replacement of the playground in 1999, it has not has a major renovation in 30 years.
For more information, call the Planning Department at (815) 439-7940.
Board of Commissioners Honors JBSRA Jaguars Gold Medal Volleyball Team
The Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners recognized the Joliet Bolingbrook Special Recreation Association’s Jaguars Volleyball Team at its January meeting for winning a Gold Medal at the Special Olympics Illinois Fall Games in Rockford in October. Pictured in the top row from left to right are Commissioner John Wilson, President Michelle Kelly, Executive Director Greg Bott, JBSRA Athlete Todd Paserillo, JBSRA Athlete Mark Oftedahl, Commissioner Larry Newton, and JBSRA Athlete Aaron Marquardt. Pictured in the bottom row from left to right are Commissioner Mary Kay Ludemann, JBSRA Athlete Vanessa Fiore, and Vice President Mike Brann.
Plainfield Park District hosts ceremonial ribbon-cuttings
The Plainfield Park District hosted three ceremonial ribbon-cuttings on Nov. 7. The Park District received $300,000 in funding from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for playground replacements at Kelly, Commons and Winding Creek Parks. The funding also included construction of rest areas along the DuPage River Trail, which are scheduled for completion in Spring 2010.
At Kelly Park, the play structure was replaced and the playground area was enlarged. In addition, the ½-basketball court was re-color-coated and some new trees were planted.
At Commons Park, the play structure was replaced, the playground area was enlarged, and some new trees were planted. In addition, the basketball court was repurposed with new color-coating and a new piece of equipment.
At Winding Creek Park, the play structure and shelter were replaced and new benches were installed.
Pictured are Planning Superintendent Cameron Bettin, Illinois State Representative Tom Cross, Board Vice President Mike Brann, and Executive Director Greg Bott.
Plainfield Park District hosts ceremonial groundbreaking on Village Green redevelopment project
The Plainfield Park District hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking on its Village Green redevelopment project on Oct. 8. The Park District received a $250,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to re-develop the 2.7-acre community park located just south of historic downtown Plainfield.
Pictured from left to right are Commissioner John Wilson, Board President Michelle Kelly, Commissioner Larry Newton, Illinois State Representative Tom Cross, Commissioner Mary Kay Ludemann, and Board Vice President Mike Brann.
Platted in 1834, Village Green Park has been used for a variety of recreational purposes, including a croquet field, swimming pool, baseball diamond, and outdoor amphitheater. The Village Green currently contains a playground, ½ basketball court, tennis courts, and a group picnic pavilion. Except for the replacement of the playground in 1999, it has not had a major renovation in 30 years.
“Obviously we were very pleased and excited to receive this grant,” said Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott. “With all of the improvements that have taken place in downtown Plainfield, the planned improvements for the Village Green will be a real compliment to the Village of Plainfield’s Streetscape Project and long-range Riverfront Master Plan.”
The funds will be used to relocate the existing basketball court to expand the play area to include a spray ground, a new amenity to the Plainfield Park District. Plans also include construction of a new half basketball court and the replacement of a concrete pad with a rain garden. In addition, the project will include the renovation of the existing restrooms to meet ADA accessibility guidelines; the installation of new site furnishings including benches, trash receptacles, and drinking fountains; the replacement of fencing and surfacing at the tennis courts; lighting upgrades; and the renovation of the existing path system. In addition, entry areas to the park will be reconstructed to coalesce with the Village of Plainfield’s Streetscape Project.
Plainfield Park District teams with Naperville Park District to provide discounted golf memberships to residents
The Plainfield Park District and Naperville Park District have partnered to offer discounted memberships for the Naperbrook Golf Course to Plainfield Park District residents. The Naperbrook Golf Course is located at 22204 Hassert Blvd. in unincorporated northeast Plainfield.
For the remainder of the 2009 golf season (through Dec. 1 or first measurable snowfall accumulation), Plainfield Park District residents can purchase a Brooks Reward Membership for the Naperville Park District resident rate of $20 (Naperville Park District non-resident membership would be $40). Benefits of the Brooks Reward Membership include green fee discounts worth $5 on a 9-hole green fee purchase and $8 on an 18-hole green fee purchase.
Regular weekday fees would be $38 for 18 holes and $25 for 9 holes. With membership, discounted weekday fees are $30 for 18 holes and $20 for 9 holes. Regular weekend and holiday fees would be $48 for 18 holes and $30 for 9 holes. With membership, discounted weekend and holiday fees are $40 for 18 holes and $25 for 9 holes.
Other Brooks Reward Membership benefits include a $1 discount on each range token purchase, employee pricing on golf shop merchandise (20% over cost), and Reward Points for green fee purchases (5%). Reward Points may be redeemed for green fees and cart costs, range balls, and golf shop merchandise. A $10 minimum redemption value is required.
Plainfield Park District residents can register for the Brooks Reward Membership (program #97809A1) online at www.plainfieldparkdistrict.com, at the Plainfield Park District Recreation/Administration Center, 23729 W. Ottawa St. in Plainfield, or at a kiosk at the Naperbrook Golf Course (for Plainfield Park District registered online users only). Once registered, members must bring their receipt to the Naperbrook Golf Course to obtain a membership card. Membership cards are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Naperbrook Golf Course is “links-style” course featuring rolling hills, native prairie grasses and 10 ponds throughout the 6,755-yard, par 72 course. The course has four sets of tees, large greens, one double green, hidden bunkers, and wide fairways. Additional amenities include a 10-acre driving range, separate lesson tee, and 10,000- and 3,000-square-foot practice putting greens. Golf lessons taught by experienced, on-staff professionals are offered throughout the season. The clubhouse features a golf shop stocked with the latest in golf accessories and apparel, and a food service area that serves a wide variety of snacks and beverages and seats 60. For more information about the Naperbrook Golf Course, visit www.naperbrookgolfcourse.org or call (630) 378-4215.
Plainfield Park District hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony for new shade structures at Renwick Community Park
The Plainfield Park District hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new shade structures at Renwick Community Park on July 25. The event marked the final celebration of the park district’s $25,000 grand prize victory in the second annual Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Bears, a local parks improvement initiative. The Plainfield Park District was able to match Staples’ $25,000 grand prize and use the money to plant trees and construct shade structures in various locations throughout the park. Dignitaries pictured cutting the ribbon from left to right are Greg Bott, Plainfield Park District Executive Director; Mariah Rodriguez; Alexander Rodriguez; Joe McLennan, McLennan Partners; Larry Newton, Plainfield Park District Commissioner; Michelle Kelly, Plainfield Park District Board President; Mary Kay Ludemann, Plainfield Park District Commissioner; Cody Kamp, Plainfield Park District Athletics and Facilities Manager; Mike Brann, Plainfield Park District Board Vice President; and Garrett Peck, Plainfield Village Trustee.
Plainfield Park District cuts ribbon at new Sunnyland Park
The Plainfield Park District and the Church of the Good Shepherd hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Sunnyland Park on June 28. The park is located at the church, 2437 Plainfield Rd. in Crest Hill.
Dignitaries pictured cutting the ribbon from left to right are Jake Bradley, Church of the Good Shepherd Youth Pastor; Lonnie Veldhouse, Church of the Good Shepherd Chairman; Michelle Kelly, Plainfield Park District Board President; Mike Brann, Plainfield Park District Board Vice President; and Greg Bott, Plainfield Park District Executive Director. Surrounding them are family, friends, neighbors and members of the congregation.
Village of Plainfield shares award with Plainfield Park District
The Plainfield Riverfront Master Plan was recently recognized with a Planning and Analysis Honor Award from the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The project’s steering committee is comprised of staff and elected officials from the Village of Plainfield and Plainfield Park District. Representatives from the Village shared the award with Park District officials at the Feb. 11 Park Board of Commissioners meeting. Pictured from left to right are Plainfield Park District Planning Superintendent Cameron Bettin, Village of Plainfield Planner Mike Schwarz, Park District Executive Director Greg Bott, Park District Commissioner Michelle Kelly, Park District Board President Larry Newton, Village Trustee and Riverfront Master Plan Steering Committee Chairman Jeff Dement, Park District Board Vice President John Primiano, and Park District Commissioner Mike Brann.
Renwick Community Park wins $25,000 for improvements in Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Bears
The Plainfield Park District’s Renwick Community Park is the winner of the $25,000 grand prize in the second annual Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Bears, a local parks improvement initiative.
Renwick Community Park received the most votes during the online contest, 251,544, just ahead of the Bolingbrook Park District’s Century Park, which received 235,639.
Renwick Community Park is located on Renwick Road just west of Route 59 in Plainfield. The 48-acre community park currently contains a playground, a picnic pavilion, a skate park, two basketball courts, three baseball fields, three soccer/football fields, and a .4-mile asphalt walking trail.
The Plainfield Park District is hoping to match Staples’ $25,000 grand prize and use the money to plant trees and construct shade structures in various locations throughout the park.
“We chose Renwick for this contest because it is a centrally-located community park, a park with a variety of amenities that appeal to a broad range of people,” said Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott. “The suggestions I hear most when I’m out there are in relation to the lack of shade. We’d like to use the prize money to address this need for all park users.”
“Obviously, we could not have accumulated 251,000+ votes without the engagement and support of the entire community,” added Bott. “Our residents and supporters really embraced this competition, and because of their perseverance, they will reap the benefit of $25,000 worth of improvements to Renwick Community Park.”
During the challenge, 15 parks throughout the Chicagoland area, including Plainfield’s Renwick Community Park, competed for a $25,000 grand prize and a winner’s celebration featuring Bears’ Defensive End Adewale Ogunleye. The voting took place online at www.StaplesDreamPark.com/Bears Sept. 16 through Nov. 17, and Chicagoland residents were able to vote once a day everyday for the park of their choice. In addition, residents could pick-up free “power cards” at any Chicagoland Staples store to have their online votes count 10 extra times. Power cards were free and no purchase was required. As an extra incentive, voters were automatically entered into a drawing to be one of five fans to meet Ogunleye at Soldier Field for the announcement of the Dream Park Challenge winner later this year.
“Community parks play a central role in building strong communities and helping our local youth to develop confidence and leadership skills through sports,” said Ogunleye. “Through this challenge, we are giving communities the opportunity to win much-needed funds to revitalize their parks and create safe, fun place for families and children to gather.”
Participating parks were selected based on their overall need, usage, input from city and county park employees, and proximity to Staples operating areas. Other participating parks included Arrowhead Park in Naperville, Bartrum Park in Elk Grove Village, Century Park in Bolingbrook, Chase Park in Chicago (North Side), Dove Park in Palatine, Grand Crossing Park in Chicago (South Side), Lake Shore Park in Oak Lawn, Marquette Park in Chicago (West Side), McCarthy Park in Tinley Park, Mills Park in Elmwood Park, Palmer Park in Chicago (South Side), Pulaski Park in Chicago (North of Loop), Schussler Park in Orland Park, and Twin Lakes Park in Villa Park.
Last year, Chicagoland residents cast more than 319,000 votes in the first Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Bears. With more than one-third of those votes, LaFollette Park won the $25,000 grand prize, which is being used to purchase lockers, a scoreboard and bleachers to benefit local youth sports programs. The runner-up parks – Dunham Park in Dunning and Ada Park in Morgan Park – received $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for park improvements.
Tom Cross presents Plainfield Park District with $300,000 check
Representative Tom Cross (left) recently presented the Plainfield Park District with a $300,000 check from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The money was used for playground replacements at Commons, Kelly and Winding Creek Parks, as well as for rest areas along the DuPage River Trail at the West Norman Drain and Riverview Park. Receiving the check is Plainfield Park Board President Larry Newton (center) and Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott (right).
Plainfield Bike Park to celebrate official grand opening with Dirt Jam on Oct. 4
The Plainfield Park District and CAMBr West, the west chapter of Chicago Area Mountain Bikers, will host an official grand opening celebration of the new Plainfield Bike Park with a Dirt Jam on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The bike park is located on the eastern edge of Van Horn Woods, along the I-55 Frontage Road between Route 30 and Caton Farm Road in Plainfield.
During the Dirt Jam, MTB and BMX riders of all ages will session the park for trophies and prizes. There will also be food, music, entertainment, raffles and giveaways. Participants must be registered for the Dirt Jam to ride the park that day and be eligible for the prizes and giveaways.
Online registration (www.plainfieldbikepark.com) is $15 for CAMBr members and $20 for non-members. Participants registering online will receive a free event T-shirt while supplies last. The deadline to register online is Sept. 25. Day-of-event registration will start at 9 a.m. The cost is $20 for CAMBr members and $25 for non-members. Signed waivers and helmets are required for event participation, and the event will take place rain or shine. Spectators are free.
Similar to a skate park but made of dirt, the free public bike park features dirt jumps of various sizes, a rhythm section of rolling berms, a pump track, and a skills area with obstacles such as logs and rocks. The park is a safe environment designed for riders of all ages and skill levels with sections ranging from beginner to expert for riders to evolve in their sport. The bike park will provide a location for competitions, exhibition riding, and instructional classes, as well as provide a training ground for the Olympic sports of BMX racing, mountain bike racing, and freestyle competitions like the X-Games.
“This bike park will be a very unique venue, the only one of its kind in Illinois and one of the few in the Midwest,” said Cameron Bettin, superintendent of planning for the Plainfield Park District. “As one of the largest park districts in the state, we’re proud to provide such an opportunity, not only for our residents, but for the entire region.”
“Freestyle biking opportunities have always been sparse in the Chicagoland area. Most local skate parks don’t allow bikes, and the few that do are small and over-crowded,” said Kevin Marley, CAMBr West member and coordinator of the bike park project. “To address this need, we developed a plan and approached the Plainfield Park District with a proposal to provide the participants in our sport with, not only a one-of-a-kind riding venue, but an opportunity to help build it from the ground up.” After a year of planning, the two groups entered into a formal agreement in January and work on the park began in March.
The bike park has been funded entirely by grants, donations and the fundraising efforts of CAMBr West. Click here for a complete list of sponsors. In addition, the bike park was constructed by CAMBr members and volunteers. Nearly 314 people volunteered more than 1,100 hours to design the bike park; remove trees and brush; install fencing, signs, a kiosk, rocks, logs and a storage building; and shape dirt to create the jumps, pump track and skills area.
CAMBr is a non-profit volunteer organization of hundreds of riders with a mission to promote responsible trail use, prevent trail closings, maintain unpaved trails and create new legal off-road opportunities for cycling in the Chicago area. CAMBr West and its volunteers will be responsible for inspection and maintenance of the bike park to ensure its safety for riders.
Plainfield Park District recreation staff members earn certifications
Two Plainfield Park District recreation staff members recently earned national certification in the park and recreation profession.
Cody Kamp, Athletics and Facilities Manager, and Adam Steffes, Facility Coordinator/Athletics Supervisor, were recently certified as Certified Park and Recreation Professionals by the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).
To become certified, both passed the national examination designed to assess core knowledge of job-related tasks. The computerized test, administered under the auspices of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) National Certification Board, is comprised of 125 questions in the categories of management, programming, and operations.
Kamp, who has worked at the Plainfield Park District for six years, is responsible for the scheduling of School District 202 and Plainfield Park District facilities. He is also the park district’s liaison to the Plainfield Athletic Advisory Council. Kamp, a member of the NRPA, is also an active member of the IPRA, participating as a Facility Management Section member, a College and University Relations Committee member, and the State Co-Coordinator of the Hershey Track Meet. He is also a member of the South Suburban Park and Recreation Professional Association. Kamp, a Certified Pool Operator, has also attended the NRPA’s National Aquatic Management School for two years. Kamp, a Western Illinois University graduate, earned his degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration.
Steffes, who has worked at the Plainfield Park District for two years, manages the Ottawa Street Pool and runs the park district’s youth athletics programs, including the in-house basketball program, as well as all adult athletics leagues. Steffes, a member of the NRPA, is also a member of the IPRA, participating as a member of the Facility Management Section. He is also a graduate of IPRA’s Professional Development School. Steffes, an Illinois State University graduate, earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Park and Recreation Administration and Economics.
Plainfield Park District web site wins state award
The Plainfield Park District’s web site won second place in the Most Improved Marketing Piece category of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association's Agency Showcase Competition. The award was announced during the state conference awards luncheon on Jan. 26 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
The Plainfield Park District’s web site underwent a total renovation for 2006, with the launch of the new and improved www.plainfieldparkdistrict.com in January. The site was designed by Visionary Webworks and is maintained by Plainfield Park District Public Information Coordinator Marianne Naughton.
The site contains more information than the previous static site, plus an interactive calendar of events and an online registration option. An interactive park map is currently in the works. The site also features seasonal changes in accent colors and graphic images to match the district’s seasonal brochures. All photographic images used are of Plainfield Park District residents, employees, program participants, and their families.
Traffic on the site increased steadily throughout the spring and summer, and now averages about 13,000 visits each month. July, the month of Plainfield Fest, logged the most visits at 15,362, followed closely by August, the first time the park district offered online registration, at 14,651. More than138,000 site visits were logged during its first year.
The IPRA Agency Showcase Competition is the premier communication and marketing competition for Illinois park and recreation agencies. Entries in the Most Improved Marketing Piece category were judged against each other regardless of the type of publication based on a 300-word explanation and overall improvement.
Ottawa Street Pool lifeguards place 8th in state competition
A team of lifeguards from the Plainfield Park District’s Ottawa Street Pool finished tied for 8th place out of 47 teams in the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Lifeguard Games competition. The games took place at the Bensenville Water Park on Aug. 5.
Members of the team included Mitchell Anliker, Elizabeth Bruce, Margaret Dixon, and Ryan McCormack. A second Plainfield Park District team finished tied for 23rd place. That team included Andrew Gilson, Andrew Ruddy, Kaitlin Smith, and Leah Swenson.
The purpose of the Lifeguard Games competition is to encourage park and recreation agency lifeguards and junior lifeguards to rise to challenges, practice their craft, learn from other guards and have fun. Teams of four competed in a series of seven events to test their lifeguard skills, strength, speed, endurance and their ability to work as a team. The events included Spinal Injury Management, Two-Person Rescue, Submerged Rescue, a Lifeguard Challenge relay, a Cold-Weather relay, and an event called Picture Perfect. A sand volleyball event also took place, but was not scored as a placed event. In addition, a Spirit Award was given to the agency exhibiting the most spirit in support of their teams and agency during the event.
The Plainfield Park District team that tied for 8th place finished first in the Lifeguard Challenge Relay with a time of 1:45.24, and captured 9th place in the Cold Weather Relay. The Plainfield Park District team that tied for 23rd place finished 5th in the Submerged Rescue.
“I am so proud of the Ottawa Street Pool lifeguards that participated in this event. It was a very successful showing for our first time ever participating in the competition,” said Cody Kamp, Plainfield Park District athletics supervisor and manager of the Ottawa Street Pool.
Business and Community Relations Manager wins WIU Distinguished Alumnus Award
Cheryl Crisman, the Plainfield Park District’s Business and Community Relations Manager, was named the 2006 winner of Western Illinois University’s Jim Berousek Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The award, named after a 1974 graduate who died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1989 just short of his 38th birthday, recognizes a Recreation, Park and Tourism program alumnus who has carried on the department’s tradition of high professional standards. The award was presented to Crisman on Jan. 27 during the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association’s annual conference, held in Chicago.
“The Plainfield Park District is very proud of Cheryl and her achievement. We see her performance everyday, so we know she is deserving of such a recognition,” said Plainfield Park District Executive Director Greg Bott.
“It was exciting to find out that Cheryl had been selected to receive this award,” added Rich Zielke, Director of Recreation. “She has been a very valuable member of our staff for eight years, and her dedication to the field of parks and recreation is evident on a daily basis.”
Crisman was originally hired as a Recreation Supervisor for Special Events in May 1998, and was promoted to her current position in January 2004. Previously, she was an Assistant Manager for the Hanover Park Park District's Centre Court Athletic Club from June 1997 to April 1999. Crisman was also employed as an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Francis for the Fall 2003 semester, teaching Case Studies and Practices in Public Relations.
In her current position, Crisman's primary responsibilities include the coordination of special projects and planning of special events and community-based programs. Recent projects have included supervising the park district's comprehensive master plan, comparative fee analysis, and 2001 community survey. She is also responsible for developing and soliciting alternative revenue programs such as donations, grants, sponsorships, and advertising. Crisman also acts as a liaison to the Friends of the Plainfield Park District Foundation, as well as to various other organizations in the Plainfield community.
In addition, Crisman is very active in the Plainfield community. She is a Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member and past Co-Chair of the organization's Women You Should Know Committee. She is also a former Secretary and Community Development Vice President for the Plainfield Jaycees. Crisman also has been active in many Illinois Park and Recreation Association committees over the years.
Crisman, a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, earned her Master of Science degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University, graduating with high honors and winning the department's 1997 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. She also has bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Public Recreation from South Dakota State University.
Executive Director reaches milestone
When Greg Bott was promoted to Executive Director of the Plainfield Park District in September of 1985, he was one of five full-time employees in a park district with five park sites including the Ottawa Street Pool. The population of Plainfield at the time was 15,000.
As Bott celebrates his 20th anniversary as Executive Director this fall, he oversees a park district with 30 full-time employees, six facilities, and 78 parks consisting of more than 1,300 acres which serves a population of more than 100,000 people.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career track,” reflects Bott. “While most people have to change jobs and move to new places to grow in their careers, my career ascension has taken place in the same chair.”
Bott, who earned Recreation and Physical Education degrees from North Central College, worked in park maintenance at the Naperville Park District before being hired by the Plainfield Park District in 1981. He was later promoted to Superintendent of Parks in 1983. When his predecessor, John Fones, resigned as executive director, he encouraged Bott to apply for the position.
“John taught me a lot about public service and the parks and recreation field, and he instilled the confidence in me to pursue this type of position,” said Bott.
Looking back, Bott describes the 1980’s as a stable time. Plainfield had adopted a park donation ordinance in 1987, so the park district was adding about one new site per year. By 1990, the Park District had 187 acres of land and served an estimated population of 20,000 people.
Then in the early 1990’s, two events brought rapid change to the park district. The first was a devastating 1990 tornado, and the second was a 1991 tax cap, abolishing the park district’s discretionary ability to raise taxes to meet the community’s needs. Meanwhile, Plainfield’s population was beginning to explode. Between 1990 and 2000, the area’s population increased by nearly 200 percent.
“It was incredibly challenging, but very exciting at the same time, to be a part of such a dynamic community and to help form it. Looking back, I don’t think anyone anticipated the growth we have seen and are seeing,” said Bott.
Despite many challenges over the years, Bott has used his direct, no-frills style and common-sense approach to guide the park district, meeting the needs of an expanding community with limited resources and tight financial conditions.
“I have always believed in parks and recreation and the significant role they play in enhancing the quality of life. That belief has kept me focused on this job and this community,” said Bott. “It has been very rewarding to grow in this community as it has grown.”